Customer service · Support

Most comprehensive help desk web service?

Paul O'Brien

February 20th, 2013

Love that the help desk space is evolving faster than... whatever evolves fast, but I can't keep up.  I'd love a solution that easily appears to be integrated with a website, providing ticketing, chat, bug tracking, social media integration, FAQs, and basic CRM in one place.  I've seen a few that are even pulling in social intelligence about individuals to provide insight to customers' influence, audience, and sentiment.

Goes without saying: priced right for a startup and able to accommodate the scale of a team

Jeff Whelpley CTO at GetHuman.com

March 3rd, 2013

I recently became CTO of a company called GetHuman that tries to help consumers with customer service needs get their questions answered and problems solved without sitting on hold for 30 minutes. I am actually in the process of creating a educational section of our site that goes through the different aspects of customer service and the best software options for each. 

So, you mentioned "help desk web service" but then brought up examples like FAQ, social media, etc. I sort of start off with the much more generalized category of Customer Experience (or CX) which encompasses the tools, people and processes involved with customer interactions. This, obviously is huge and includes all sort of stuff, but outside of the purely eCommerce/Sales tools, CX breaks down to:
  1. Tools that allow the company to give information/help to the consumer (ex. Instant Answers, Knowledge Base, Live Chat, Screen Sharing, IVR, etc.)
  2. Tools that allow the consumer to give feedback to the company (ex. Surveys, Reviews, Ideation, etc.)
  3. Tools to help you manage your internal processes (ex. Ticketing Systems, CRM, etc.)
  4. Analytic tools that will take all the downstream information and try to make sense of it all (ex. Social Listening Platforms, Text Analytics, Behavior Analytics, etc.).
For each of these categories, there plenty of great vendors that either focus in one one thing or have a suite of applications that attempt to be comprehensive.  Your question was about comprehensive, but just realize that those types of tools are not necessarily the best option for everyone.  They are typically more expensive and give you more than what you need.  In fact, there are many Forrester studies about how little the larger CX tools are adopted within organizations. The typical example is that an exec falls in love with something like Oracle CRM, spends a couple million dollars and then forces everyone to use it even when it doesn't make sense (which ultimately leads to people not using the tool properly and coming up with their own solutions).

That said, if you have the money, there are a lot of great comprehensive solutions out there.  A couple people mentioned Zendesk and I would definitely say they have some great tools, but they are focused just on the Help Desk. If you want to talk about the more general CEM (Customer Experience Management) Tools, some of the ones I have found include:
  • SalesForce - FYI, they own Desk.com as well as several other apps like Radian6 which really make them a full CEM vendor.
  • Medallia
  • eGain
  • Kana
  • Moxie
  • LiveOps
  • LivePerson
Of course, you always have the big league CRM vendors (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Aptean, NetSuite, PegaSystems) that have started to branch out into all of these areas as well.

All that said, a lot of the recommendations that we are going to have our site are going to revolve around the idea that you should first come up with your own customer experience/customer service philosophy, goals and guidelines. Then identify solutions that are the best fit for specific needs.  Too many people just buy into a comprehensive tool without full understanding how they are going to use it or what type of impact it will have on your business.  Hopefully, our new site will allow companies to get that understanding before they sink a lot of time and effort into something that doesn't match up with their goals.

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

February 20th, 2013

Not sure how integrated by desk.com is the salesforce solution and used to be assistly so I've heard good things.  There is also getsatisfaction and zendesk.

Shai Herzog Mobile/Social/Location Dev Manager, Architect, Inventor & Entrepreneur

February 20th, 2013

http://www.zendesk.com/

Jason Brand Co-Founder and CEO @Lenda, @500 Startups Batch 9

March 26th, 2014

Hey Paul, not sure if you've already found a solution but we began a similar hunt last week and narrowed it down to Desk and ZenDesk.  They're priced similarly - about $30-35/month/agent - given the criteria you've mentioned (the starter plans, near freemium, don't allow chat integration.)  We went with Desk...the set-up was so simple and the support was incredible.  We use Olark for chat and the integration took all of 12 seconds.  Couldn't be happier with the product.  Good luck and hope this helps.  

Kate Hiscox

March 27th, 2014

Hey Paul - I've used both Desk and Zendesk. They're much the same when you get to the $30 accounts but the basic versions have a couple of differences;

  • Desk requires an annual payment for the basic version
  • Desk only provides one language (English) for the basic version
  • Desk does provide some rules in the basic version
  • Zendesk has more languages included in the basic version
  • Zendesk doesn't allow for rules in the basic version
  • Zendesk lets you pay monthly for the basic version
So it really comes down to what type of account, your need for rules and what languages you need. The $are very minimal. With that said, Zendesk recently changed their knowledge base theme's and layout and wow.. setting that up has been a small nightmare - enough in fact to have me seriously considering switching to Desk. Another option is Groovehq.com. I really like their solution but we couldn't use it as they don't have integration with Jira.

For live chat, I know and have used them all. I prefer Zopim to Olark because of the ability to customize the chat experience and their rule builder is a little more extensive. Both integrate into the above but I think you get a little more bang for your (free) $ from Zopim. Their customer support is awesome too.